The Alamo. The spiritual birthplace of the Republic of Texas and, later, the State of Texas. The most iconic locale in the entire state. Perhaps one of the most iconic in the U.S. (and maybe in the world – think big, this is Texas!).
The early Texans lost the Battle of The Alamo but not long after won the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. Yet it’s The Alamo that gets remembered most often. Sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds is simply a more compelling story.
And what a story. The Alamo’s is a heady mix of fact, fiction, myths, legends, and wonderment, set at one of those momentous focal points in U.S. history. The Alamo’s website works to separate fact from fiction but see The Alamo (1960) for the legends and Forget the Alamo for some gritty details.
We last visited in mid-November 2019 – a quiet time outside the usual tourist season – and found it to be fascinating. The displays, although informative and factual, seemed to steer carefully around some of the more controversial parts of its history.
This time we arrived during Spring Break and we were not alone. Fortunately free timed entry tickets are available online and we were able to duck some of the crowds by getting an early entry time.
The timed entry was for the church. After that, we were free to wander around the gardens and through the Long Barrack (the oldest building in Texas). And, of course, visit the gift shop.
There were some statutes in the courtyard that had been added (or maybe we missed them on our last visit) representing the other, previously underrepresented, players (i.e., women, Tejanos, African-Americans, Native Americans) in The Alamo saga. This historic site may never achieve full representation but it now seems closer to that ideal than before.
As the crowds built, we said good-bye to The Alamo and strolled through La Villita and then a ways along the River Walk before deciding to have lunch at Poblano’s – a Mexican restaurant very popular with the locals (and very noisy). But the food was great! 😋
After lunch, we did another circuit around the River Walk. The river in the walk is (or was) a prominent bend in the San Antonio River. After a disastrous flood in 1921, this bend was bypassed for flood control purposes and was slated to be paved over and turned into a storm sewer. Fortunately, progress on this sewer idea languished.
Then, in 1929, architect Robert Hugman proposed retaining the bend, and the river in it, as a commercial development. This plan had a slow start but was helped along mightily when, in 1939, the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) paid for a network of some 17,000 feet (5,200 m) of walkways, about twenty bridges, and extensive plantings.
Today’s Texas may be wary of the federal government but back in 1939 the fed’s money was welcome. Today, the River Walk is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Texas. Its popularity is helped along by it being within easy walking distance of the state’s biggest attraction – The Alamo.
After the River Walk, we hung out while Wayne and Diane did some laundry, then headed out to dinner. Pinkerton’s Texas Pit Barbecue was an easy walk from our hotel, so we went there to fulfill Wayne and Diane’s passion for good BBQ (ours too for that matter). We thought we were early but, by the time we sat down to eat at their outdoor tables, the place was packed, with a line out the door. Good BBQ, real good BBQ! 🍖😋
The Texas Eagle departs San Antonio for Chicago at 07.00. So, after dinner, it was back to our hotel to pack and get some rest before we had to find our way to the station in the small hours of the morning. It had been a short trip to Texas – but at least we’d all gotten to wear shorts for a day! 😁BACK TO BLOG POSTS
Being stupid took us to some great adventures, while being tough allowed us to survive them. 😏
Tough and stupid has been our guiding principle for years! 🙂
I’m happy to report that our friends made it home – via two different trains – and arrived only an hour later than scheduled! They said that riding the Zephyr across the snow-covered Sierra Nevada (there is a LOT of snow this year) was absolutely amazing. 😁
We really like San Antonio and have enjoyed biking the Riverwalk to all of the missions along the trail. Your train trip was quite an adventure! You guys are tough, LOL.